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Microsoft Is Ending Support For Exchange 2003. What’s Your Next Move?

So, you’ve been running Exchange 2003 for years. Sure, you may have sustained a few bumps and bruises along the way, but it’s done the job.

But on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for Exchange 2003. What does this mean for you and your business?

Simply put, it means that in just seven weeks you will no longer receive updates or patches of any kind from Microsoft. You won’t have access to support, online or otherwise, for any issues, whether they pop up on Tuesday during business hours or Saturday at 3 a.m.

Knowing that your system is up-to-date and protected 24×7 is crucial. Without support, that safety net is gone.

What Are Your Options?

To ensure that you have access to patching and support for your Exchange server, you have two options to consider before April 8: you can either upgrade your in-house solution or you can work with a cloud provider to host your email.

Here are a few pros and cons for you to consider when making your decision.

If you choose to invest in another on-premise solution:

Pros

  1. In-house email management can be ideal for organizations with highly stringent regulations such as HIPPA compliance and other established and emerging regulations.
  2. Specialized integrations with proprietary or company-specific IT applications are needed for this type of system.

Cons

  1. You must research and understand the varying system requirements and compatibility needed to upgrade.
  2. The upfront cost of purchasing system upgrades to both hardware and compatible software are hefty.
  3. A long timeframe is required to purchase and install upgrades. Will your upgrade be complete by April 8?
  4. You must maintain and support the system yourself, 24x7x365; including installing patches, upgrades and hot-fixes. There are new viruses hitting each and every day.

If you trust your email management to a cloud provider:

Pros

  1. You can focus on your business-specific tools and leave the email management to folks who specialize in it.
  2. There’s no need to worry about patches, upgrades and outages; a cloud provider maintains the servers and spam and virus protection.
  3. Your bill is based on usage; there are no surprises or hidden costs that pop-up along the way

Cons

  1. A cloud provider cannot easily integrate all applications your business may need with your email.
  2. The available offerings are more standardized without unique configurations

Email is typically the first application that business use to “dip their toe” in the cloud. It’s a necessary and highly used tool that is, quite frankly, hard to manage and maintain all day, every day. Email, however, is typically not specific to any certain business, which makes it an ideal standardized application to trust in the hands of a cloud provider.

Click here to learn more about your options. If you’d like to talk to an email specialist who can provide more answers to your specific needs, give us a call or feel free to chat with us online.

Next week we will take a look at some of key things to consider when choosing a cloud provider if you decide to outsource your Exchange. Stay tuned.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Brooke Jackson.

Brooke Jackson is an Email & Apps Product Manager for Hosted Exchange and Directory Sync residing in Blacksburg, Va. She has been a Racker for four years and is passionate and fanatical about email.


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